Chinese FM in Turkey to enhance bilateral ties
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan arrived in Turkey Saturday for a four-day official visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations with Ankara, the Anatolia news agency reported. Tang flew into Istanbul, where he will spend the day visiting the historic sites of the city, the agency said.
He is to visit the ancient site of Ephesus near the western Turkish city of Izmir on Sunday before coming to Ankara for official talks scheduled to start on Monday. The itinerary of the visiting minister includes meetings with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.
The two sides will sign an "action plan" outlining goals to strengthen cooperation in the political, economic and cultural fields. In April last year, Chinese president Jiang Zemin visited Turkey as part of a five-nation tour, during which the two countries signed a protocol of cooperation in the energy field.
The Chinese side also pledged to increase imports from Turkey by 10 times and showed an interest to invest in the country, particularly in the construction and modernization of railways and thermal power plants.
During Jiang's visit, the two sides were careful not to let the independence demands by Turkic-origin Uighurs in western China, who have long complained of Chinese oppression, to mar the talks. China seeks Turkey's cooperation against Uighur bids for independence in the Xinjiang region, where 8.7 million of them live.
Ankara has racial and linguistic bonds with the Uighurs, but has condemned any separatist moves against Beijing's territorial integrity. Turkey itself has been hit by a 15-year separatist Kurdish rebellion in its southeast region. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)